The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will make the ban on the Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) effective in Uttar Pradesh if it comes to power in the state, a senior party leader has said.
While the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had banned the SIMI on Sep 26, 2001, the party has accused the Uttar Pradesh government headed by Mulayam Singh Yadav of turning a blind eye to the continued activities of the organisation.
"SIMI is running its offices in 32 districts of Uttar Pradesh. As soon as we come to power we will seal all these offices overnight," BJP vice-president Mukhtar Ababs Naqvi told.
The outfit is suspected to be behind a number of terror strikes in recent years.
Those behind the attack on the Hindu temple town of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh in July 2005 were widely believed to be SIMI activists.
Moreover, investigating agencies had put those associated with the outfit under scanner following the terror blasts along Mumbai's suburban trains in July 2006 that killed at least 187 people.
While security agencies believe that the organisation continues to function under a different garb even as Yadav's Samajwadi Party has argued that the SIMI is not a terrorist outfit.
Ahead of the seven-phased assembly elections in April-May in what is considered the country's politically most important state, Naqvi said his party was also banking on the Muslims.
"There is a rethinking among Muslims about the BJP. The BJP is no more an untouchable."
"In the 2004 general elections under former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee we got seven per cent Muslim votes. This time too we are expecting that a good number of them will vote for us," said the BJP vice-president.
Meanwhile, party sources said BJP MP Yogi Adityanath's demand to field his supporters in the coming elections might be accommodated.
Adityanath, known as a firebrand Hindutva leader, was arrested from his constituency of Gorakhpur in January when the town was put under curfew following communal clashes.
While he wants the party to give ticket to over 30 of his supporters and has threatened they will contest against the official party candidates if his demand was not met, the party sources indicated that the party will field about a dozen of them.
"Talks about accommodating Adityanath's candidates are still on. We hope everything will work out fine in the end," said a senior party leader.